Dr George Musgrave

Staff details

Dr George Musgrave


Senior Lecturer in Cultural Sociology and Creative Industries


Institute for Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship


g.musgrave (@gold.ac.uk)

Interdisciplinary sociologist of music, researching musicians' psychosocial working lives

George is an interdisciplinary sociologist of music, researching musicians' psychosocial working lives. His specialism concerns the psychological experiences and working conditions of creative careers, with a focus on mental health and wellbeing in the music industry. He has collaboratively undertaken two major funded research projects - 'Can Music Make You Sick?' (UK) and ‘When Music Speaks’ (Denmark) - on mental health and the music industry. The book of the former was an Amazon Number 1 Best Seller in the Sociology of Work. His research has been published in world-leading journals including The Lancet, The Lancet Psychiatry, Poetics, Cultural Trends, Musicae Scientiae, and Psychology of Music, and he is regularly invited to speak internationally on the subject.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) and the Higher Education Academy (FHEA), and a Committee Member of the Royal Musical Association (RMA) Music and Mental Health Group. He is ICCE's Chair of Examinations

Academic qualifications

  • PhD: ESRC funded - The Centre for Competition Policy (UEA) 2014
  • MA: Politics, Philosophy and Economics 2010
  • MA (Cantab): Social and Political Science, University of Cambridge 2009

Teaching and supervision

PhDs supervised to completion:

  • Dr. Steven Sparling (2021) (now Head of Department for Creative and Cultural Industries, Kingston University)

George welcomes PhD proposals from students who wish to combine a focus on psychology, sociology and/or economics in relation to creative markets. He is currently supervising two further doctoral projects; one on musicians' wellbeing and identity, and another on burnout in the TV industry.

George has previously Chaired ICCE's Undergraduate Learning and Teaching Committee.

Has been a guest lecturer at New York University delivering sessions in the Clive Davies Institute of Recorded Music (Tisch School of the Arts) and the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development (NYU London).

He teaches both optional and compulsory modules across the following programmes of study (among others):

Research interests

George's research concerns the psychological experiences & working conditions of creative careers, with a focus on mental health & wellbeing in the music industry.

His work led directly to the establishment of a 24/7 mental health helpline for musicians - Music Minds Matter - in 2017. His research has been featured by media outlets including BBC News, The New York Times, Pitchfork, Mixmag, GQ, The Financial Times, The Grammys, Billboard & more. His work has been cited as informing the development of global therapeutic & public health interventions as well by the UK Government's Department for Culture Media and Sport as part of the 'Creative Industries Sector Vision'. He appears regularly for media outlets including BBC Radio 4.

His research has been awarded funding by a range of stakeholders including UKRI (ESRC), Government (Mayor of London) the third sector (Help Musicians UK), and the international music industries (Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music). His findings have formed the basis of evidence which has been cited by the UK House of Commons Women and Equalities Commission, and the House of Lords.

His second book is a sociological examination of music-making as a practice of narrative identity construction entitled 'The England No One Cares About: Lyrics from Suburbia' (MIT Press / Goldsmiths Press, 2024).

He is also a musician who has signed both major recording & publishing deals with EMI/Sony/ATV. His music has earned support from the likes of Mike Skinner, Plan B, Ellie Goulding & Ed Sheeran, and he has been labelled 'Middle England's Poet Laureate' by BBC Radio 1 & 1Xtra DJ MistaJam. Prior to signing to his record deal, he was the first ever unsigned artist to win a place on the MTV 'Brand New' list alongside Lana Del Rey & Charli XCX, & has played at festivals including Reading, Leeds, Wireless and BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend. He has MC'd for global acts including Andy C, Shy FX, Rusko, SpectraSoul, Plastician & Benga.

Grants and awards

Funding awarded by Lewisham Council and Creative Enterprise Zone (Mayor of London) to explore the lives of local creative practitioners and make recommendations for the development of the CEZ

Publications and research outputs


. 2024. . London: Goldsmiths Press. ISBN 9781913380663

Gross, Sally-Anne and . 2020. . London: University of Westminster Press. ISBN 9781912656646

Book Section

. 2024. . In: David Arditi and Ryan Nolan, eds. Handbook of Critical Music Industry Studies. Palgrave Macmillan.

. 2022. . In: Guy Morrow; Daniel Nordgård and Peter Tschmuck, eds. Rethinking the Music Business: Music Contexts, Rights, Data and, COVID-19. Cham, Switzerland: Springer, pp. 11-28. ISBN 9783031095313

. 2022. . In: , ed. SAGE Business Cases. London: SAGE Publications.


Kaasgaard, Mette; Grebosz-Haring, Katarzyna; Davies, Christina; ; Shiriraam, Jahnusha; McCrary, J. Matt and Clift, Stephen. 2024. . Frontiers in Public Health, 12, 1414070. ISSN 2296-2565

Clift, Stephen; Bathke, Arne; Davies, Christina; Daffern, Helena; Grebosz-Haring, Katarzyna; Kaasgaard, Mette; McCrary, J. Matt; and Thun-Hohenstein, Leonard. 2024. . The Lancet, 403(10434), P1335. ISSN 0140-6736

; Gross, Sally-Anne and Klein, Maike. 2024. . Musicae Scientiae, ISSN 1029-8649

Conference or Workshop Item

and Gross, Sally-Anne. 2018. ''. In: BBC Introducing LIVE. London, Tobacco Docks. 8 November 2018.

. 2017. ''. In: The 8th Vienna Music Business Research Days. University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Austria 12-14 September 2017.


Nomvula, Amy; Day, Sam; and Gross, Sally. 2018. .

Professional Activity

; ; ; and . 2022. .

Gross, Sally-Anne and . 2022. .

and Gross, Sally-Anne. 2022. .


; Gross, Sally-Anne and Carney, Daniel. 2024. . Project Report. Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music, Copenhagen, Denmark.

; Gross, Sally-Anne and Carney, Daniel. 2024. . Project Report. Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music, Copenhagen, Denmark.

; Gross, Sally-Anne and Carney, Daniel. 2023. . Project Report. Danish Partnership for Sustainable Development in Music, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Media engagements

‘George Musgrave’s new book contextualises rap in Middle England’

Interview to discuss paper ‘The dark side of optimism’


Special guest to discuss music, mental health and why bands break up

Podcast recorded live on stage from Eurosonic Festival, Groningen

Podcast interview

Featured expert in article on mental health and electronic music


Interview on the release of new scholarly book

Live Q&A on Instagram for the organisation SheSaidSo

Research formed the basis of a BBC Introducing documentary, and was featured as expert guest

Quoted expert in GQ cover story on the death of Avicii